People confirm what statistics suggest: Lottery legend Joan Ginther bought thousands of high-priced scratch-off tickets on her way to winning millions of dollars four times.
A store clerk named Victoria said she "sold Ginther countless tickets, entire rolls of $50 scratch-offs at a time," according to a report by Houston TV station KPRC.
And that was at just one of eight stores in and around Ginther's home town of Bishop, Texas, where she won 28 prizes ranging from $1,000 to $10 million from 2005 to 2012.
"We stopped at two stores, a few churches, and chatted with a couple guys on the street. They were all quick to suggest that Ginther has bought so many tickets, she was bound to win," KPRC reported.
In nearby Kingsville, word is she bought huge quantities of tickets, paying with cashier's checks for three or four "books" of high-priced tickets at a time, at the Diamond Shamrock store where she won $2 million playing Holiday Millionaire in 2006.
In Bishop, "at The Bar [the one frequented by the town's Latino population], which sells $2 cans of beer and nothing else, bartender Janie Wilder ... explained that Ginther routinely bought out all the high-stakes scratch-off tickets in town," Nathaniel Rich wrote in "The Luckiest Woman on Earth," a 2011 article in Harper's.
Citgo manager Quala Hicks "has watched Ginther buy entire packs of $50 tickets at her store [there are 20 tickets to a pack]," Rich wrote.
Since buying tickets triggers orders for more tickets, the lottery was shipping thousands of tickets to the Bishop area.
Just one store, Times Market, sold more than 9,000 tickets for $140,000,000 Extreme Payout, the $50 game that won Ginther $10 million. No other store in the state sold 6,000.
Another Bishop resident claimed Sun Bae, the owner of Times Market, saved all the tickets for Ginther.
From "The Luckiest Woman on Earth:"
She [Ginther] had a fanny pack around her waist. It was stuffed with rolls of cash bound in rubber bands. She was holding a plastic bag from the HEB Federal Credit Union, a regional bank. She walked to the other side of the counter, as if she were going to the restroom, and then handed off the money to Bae. In exchange Ginther received several bundles of high-stakes tickets, which she placed into the plastic bag. Ginther walked outside, put the bag in the trunk of her car, and drove back to her room at the Days Inn.
Ginther had the same arrangement in Kingsville, the woman stated.
"People in Bishop estimate that she buys about three thousand tickets a year," Rich wrote.
Since no one was keeping a strict count, including the Texas Lottery, it's possible the true figure was much higher, as statisticians and sales figures suggest.
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.